I sent out a volunteer form to all the parents of the students in my fourth grade classroom. I use this form to find parents who are willing and able to tutor math and writing, and I schedule them to come together in groups of three of four at a specific, appropriate time when they can assist in the classroom. The volunteer form also has a survey that asks parents if they have an area of expertise they would like to share with the classroom. Any parent who is unable or unwilling to come into the classroom on a regular basis but who would like to talk to the kids about their hobby or their area of expertise are welcome.
Nathan's father responded, and I was amazed at what I read. I mentioned his response to Nathan.
"Nathan, you're father is really somethin', isn't he."
"What do ya mean, Mr. R.?"
"Well, for one thing, your father is a colonel in the United States Air Force."
"Yes, he is. Did you know that he was a colonel?"
"Do you know what that means?"
"That means your father has very many people that he gives orders to, but very few people who give him orders. He is very high up in the chain of command. He is an important person. Did you know that?"
"That isn't all, Nathan. He flies some of the greatest fighter and bomber jets in the world. He flies F-117 Stealths, F-4s and F-4 Phantoms, F-15s, the F-22 Raptor! Did you know he flew the fastest jets in the world?"
"No. I knew he flew stuff."
" 'Stuff?' Nathan! Your father flew F-16s in Operation Desert Storm! He is a fighter ace! He teaches Air Force pilots how to fly all kinds of incredible aircraft, and now he is involved in some kind of project involving a new jet that has new technology....the F-22 or something. Did you know that about your father?
"No." Then with an excited, suddenly animated voice, Nathan exclaims, "He plays football and bakes cookies!"
I guess I'm with Nathan. My eating disorder precludes me from asking his father to discuss the boring aircraft he flies. Nah! Let's get him to bake cookies!!